Samsung investigated for planting bad HTC reviews

Posted on April 23, 2013

 

Taiwanese fair-trade officers are investigating electronics giant Samsung, over claims that it has been paying students to create negative reviews of rival phones.

The allegations suggest the company, which is based in South Korea, has been engaging in so called ‘false advertising’.

Smearing the competition in this manner is an acknowledged ‘black hat’ search engine optimisation tactic, and is frowned upon by ethical SEO companies.

HTC won and lost

The Fair Trade Commission in Taiwan started the investigation having received a number of complaints. They allege that poor reviews and comments about HTC phones have been engineered by the firm.

Samsung Electronics Taiwan (SET) has said the incident is “unfortunate” and goes against its principles which will be reinforced. It later posted the following message on its local Facebook page:

“(SET has) ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments”

Samsung praise

It went on to say that all future internet marketing would be transparent and honest. Explaining that staff misunderstood instruction. The message continued:

“We regret any inconvenience this incident may have caused. We will continue to reinforce education and training for our employees to prevent any future recurrence.”

The poor reviews of HTC products allegedly appeared alongside praise for Samsung products. A local website has also published documents which shows proof that the Korean firm knowingly recruited students for the task.

It is not the first time Samsung has had a run in with the Taiwanese authorities either. Earlier this year, the firm was found guilty of running a misleading Galaxy Y Duo advert.

If found guilty in this instance, the firm could face a fine of over £500,000.

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